Attendance & Participation in HIST 431


This course places a premium on engagement. To succeed, you have to show up and be involved. In a large class, casual discussion is not easy. Nevertheless, this is an upper-division course in History, and so discourse in a variety of forms—writing, speaking, dialog—has to be a part of it. It begins with showing up, both physically and virtually. This page, then, presents expectations as to attendance and participation.


Class Attendance


Show up. There is a quiz every week. There is lecture material every week you need in order to pass the quiz. We only have class once a week, and you need to be there, or you will lose points fast. Plus, you need to be in class in order to earn in-class participation points.


Participation in Class


Every time you make a substantial contribution to classroom proceedings, you earn 2 points. No more than two events, 4 points, per class session. Now, just what constitutes "a substantial contribution"? Here are possibilities.


1.      Asking a question, germane to the material being covered, that is a matter of concept, definition, or significance. Just asking about a factual detail doesn't count. This should be a question that invites thought or discussion.

2.      Making a comment, germane to be material being covered, that is a matter of concept, definition, or significance, or in some way elaborates on the material constructively. This might be as simple as a good story illustrating a point in the material.

3.      Serving as spokesperson for your focus group in a cooperative learning situation, reporting back to the class.


Participation Online


Online participation takes place on the wall and in the forums of the HIST 431 Facebook page. Every time you make a substantial contribution to online proceedings, you earn points. No more than one event in a day. Again, what constitutes a "substantial contribution"? In the first place, it is not one of your graded assignments. It is discussion that exhibits interaction with your colleagues in the course. Here are possibilities.


1.      Asking a question, pertaining to course material or to regional life in general, that invites response from others. Make it reasonably interesting and somehow significant. In other words, get the ball rolling on discussion.

2.      Posting a comment or response based on the assignments and postings of others. Show that you are reading their stuff and are interested in what they are saying. Make it thoughtful and germane.

3.      Drawing attention (perhaps by posting a link) to material outside the proceedings of the class that relates to the class. For instance, posting details of an upcoming event.


Keeping It Honest


How can Dr. Isern keep track of all this? He can’t. So to get your points, you keep track of them for him. You do this with a simple format in an Excel file. Whenever you participate, make an entry. Entries might look like this.



Download Excel File for Recording Participation


This whole package of attendance and participation features is an experiment in culture-building. It operates on the assumption that we are a good university with good students who respond well to incentives to build a strong academic culture. We are not in competition with one another; rather we engage with one another and help one another along. In other words, be Bison.